- Daniel himself: 7:15, 8:1, 10:2.
- In addition, an editor who refers to Daniel in third person: 4:19, 7:1, 10:1 Note that prophetic material is in first person, historical material in third person, indicating that Daniel wrote down the prophecies and visions himself, and that an editor close to the events wrote down the historical material. This is most vividly seen in 10:1 and 10:2 where Daniel is referred to in first and third person.
- The author? The Holy Spirit!
- 2. Date – about 530 BC
- 3. Theme
God rules the nations – do not fear
4. Mega Themes:
“…the primary lesson to be learned by the readers of Daniel is that they must be faithful to their commitment to the Lord God, regardless of the circumstances. No matter what happens in their lives, if followers of God will put their faith in the unseen but all-powerful God of heaven, they will be considered righteous and they will receive their reward on that great day in the future…no matter what happens in the political world, the economic world, the religious world, and the social world, God is in control. God knows his people. He is watching over his righteous servants. Anyone who puts his or her trust in God will ultimately be vindicated. “ John Oakes, Daniel, Prophet to the Nations, p. 15.
5. Title Verse: Daniel 5:5
6. Some great lines
- “But Daniel resolved…” – 1:8
- “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – 3: 17-18
- “…the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.” – 4:25
- “Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, just as he had done before.” – 6: 10
- “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” – 6:16
- “And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” – 6:23
- “‘Daniel, you who are highly esteemed…” 10:11
- “‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to humble your mind and gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in answer to them.” — 10:12
7. Difficulties and Challenges
- Interpreting the prophetic sections
8. Unique Features and Values
- No other prophet had the non-Jewish world as his primary sphere of ministry
- Daniel was a prophet, but probably not a preacher – was a righteous and good man
- Great value in how to live a life for God in a non-believing world
- Builds our faith because of the amazingly accurate prophecies, and fulfillment of prophecies from the book of Isaiah, written earlier. (Isa. 39:6-7)
- Parallels to book of Revelation in NT
- no other book written in two languages (Hebrew and Aramaic – 2:4- 7:28)
10. How to Approach this book
There are two types of material in the book:
1) historical – the stories of Daniel and his friends
2) prophetic visions of the future
Many of these visions are about the persecutions the Jews would endure under the Greek kings in the period of between the Old and New Testaments (The Babylonian Kings to the time of Jesus Christ) It is impossible to understand Daniel without a knowledge of that time in history.
The book is presented in chronological format, so the visions are interspersed throughout the book as they occur.
Historical and Practical: chapters 1, 3, 5, 6
Prophetic Visions: chapters 2, 4, 7-12
11. Helpful Dates and timeline:
- 1050-1010 BC: Saul’s Kingdom
- 1010-970 BC: David’s Kingdom:
- 970-930 BC: Solomon’s Kingdom:
- Kingdom divides into Northern and Southern after Solomon
- Northern Kingdom invaded, deported and destroyed by Assyrians: 722 BC
- 605 BC: King of Babylon invades and subdues Judah under King Jehoiakim – Daniel and friends taken captive and deported to Babylon
- 597 BC: Nebuchadnezzar attacks and defeats Jerusalem – spares the city itself
- 586 BC: Nebuchadnezzar invades and destroys the city of Jerusalem
- 539 BC Cyrus the Persian defeats Babylon (bloodlessly) – allows Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple (Note: this was prophesied by Isaiah more than 200 years in advance – Isa. 45:13)
- Temple rebuilding was completed during reign of Darius 1, which began in 521 BC
- 458 BC: Persian King Artaxerxes 1 allows Ezra to return to Jerusalem
- 445 BC: Artaxerxes 1 allows Nehemiah to return to rebuild Jerusalem
- 432 BC: Nehemiah’s last return to Jerusalem, OT comes to a close.
- 334 BC: Campaigns of Alexander the Great begin, he conquers Middle East
- 323 BC: Death of Alexander, succession by four kings and four territories
- 175 BC: Beginning of reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who seeks to eliminate Jewish culture and faith. He made circumcision and worship of God punishable by death. Placed a statue of himself in the temple and sacrificed a pig on the altar. This sparked the Maccabean revolt led by Judas Maccabeus who retook Jerusalem and re-consecrated the temple. Jews note this as the feast of Chanukah cf. John 10:22
- 63 BC: Romans take Jerusalem, rule for 400 years
- 37 BC: Roman Mark Antony appoints Herod the Great King over Judea. Herod rebuilds the temple
- 4 BC: birth of Jesus
- 70 AD: Romans under Titus subdue Jewish revolt, destroyJerusalem and the temple. Jewish sacrifices come to an end forever.
Daniel Chapter One
Sometimes we are delivered into situations by God.
Deut. 28:49-52, 64-68
Jer. 27: 1-11, 29:4-14
Characteristics noted by the Babylonians
1) no physical defect
3) aptitude for all kinds of learning
4) well informed
5) quick to understand
6) qualified to serve
The attempt to redefine them, change their identity:
- Daniel — the Lord is my judge >> Name changed to Belteshazzar — Bel’s Prince
- Hannaniah — the Lord is gracious >> Name changed to Shadrach — Under the command of Aku (moon god)
- Mishael — Who is God’s? >> Name changed to Meshach — Who is like Aku?
- Azariah — Whom God helps >> Name changed to Abednego — one who serves Nebo (fire god)
- Strong convictions
- Tactful in his approach
- Respectful and courteous (1:8 – he resolved, yet asked permission)
- Modest and humble
- Faith and prayer (2:18, 6:10,11)
- Competence in his areas of responsibility
There is no criticism of him by God – “highly esteemed” – 9:23, 10:11, 19
- He made decisions of conviction in advance – that is the best way to handle difficult moments.
- His options as a captive:
Seemingly small decisions determine our destiny, even when we are young.
In my life: As college student, decided to go to church on Wed. nights instead of attend fraternity meetings. I remembered the teaching of my elder, Richard Whitehead – “One right decision solves lots of smaller decisions!”
Younger people in Scripture who were placed under pressure and stood the test and who showed that their priorities and faith were in place early on: Joseph, Moses, Miriam, Joshua, David, Daniel, Jeremiah, Esther, Ruth, John the Baptist, Mary, Timothy, Jesus (at 12)
Parents and teachers: Put convictions in our young ones!!
1:9 – God moves – God can give us favor in the eyes of those who do not believe in Him
1:10 – Ancient kings and their absolute power
1:11 ff. – note Daniel’s tact, wisdom and reserve
1:17 – God’s response to his stand:
1. gave him knowledge and understanding of kinds of literature and learning
2. could interpret dreams
1:18-20 Ten times better than the others